Water fun and wineries in Lake County

By: DogTrekker Staff
A Golden Retriever stands in the shallow water beside a lakeside dock in Lake County. The dog's wet fur glistens under the sunlight. In the background, a serene lake is framed by mountainous terrain, with a clear blue sky overhead.
North checks out Clear Lake at sunrise. Photo by Jennifer Waicukauski.

Fresh air, bright skies and pretty scenery distinguish Lake County. Tucked about two hours north of San Francisco, it’s anchored by Clear Lake – California’s largest freshwater lake – and the 70,000-acre plus Cache Creek Natural Area. This under-the-radar county blends the Golden State’s best: water activities, wine tasting, small towns and dog-friendly local businesses.

While not as well-known as other California lake destinations, Lake County promises lots of outdoor excitement and lodging options for every budget. Head to the base of Cold Creek Canyon to reach Blue Lakes, a pair of low-key lakes known for wildlife watching and a scenic setting. The Lodge at Blue Lakes provides watercraft rentals, including dog-friendly equipment.

From excellent bass fishing to birdwatching to boating, Clear Lake is a bigger and buzzier summer escape. Disney’s Boat Rentals has equipped guests with jet skis, pontoons, ski boats, paddleboards and kayaks for more than 40 years, and it’s one of several rental outfitters serving lake visitors.

On the west side of Clear Lake, Lakeport’s 60-acre Westside Community Park has a spacious fenced dog park and pup-friendly hiking trails. Several hotels and restaurants here welcome furry friends. Expect boutiques and easy wine country access down the road in Kelseyville. 

You might meet some resident Samoyeds at the downtown tasting room of Smiling Dogs Ranch, a small-batch Lake Country producer that makes wines using sustainable farming practices and renewable energy. Nearby, Kelsey Creek Brewing and Saw Shop Public House welcome well behaved pups, and Suites on Main has modern, dog-friendly accommodations.

Bed & Barrel at Stonehouse Cellars, a DogTrekker favorite, is located a few miles east of the lake. Dogs can overnight in a charming, 1906 cottage known as the Stonehouse, while children are welcome to pet the property’s llamas and sheep. There’s also an on-site winery and a half-acre pond surrounded by vineyards. 

Last updated on July 8, 2024.


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